Great British Bake Off 2020: Pastry Week

Shutterstock / Natalia Lisovskaya © great british bake off

Any fan of the Great British Bake Off knows a week like this one is inevitable. Like the changing of the seasons or the tides of the sea.

One week, Paul Hollywood will get that little glint in his eye that says “I know he doesn’t seem like a nice man, but I kind of love Kevin McCloud”.

And he’ll use the word “architecture” for the first time.

I’m a little confused, though, having reached the halfway stage of the competition without spotting a single cement mixer. That’s probably just an oversight on the part of the production team.

The signature challenge: Cornish pasties

Prue’s after “the best Cornish pasties [she’s] ever tasted”. That shouldn’t be too hard for a tent full of people who hadn’t heard of marzipan in Cake Week, didn’t bother practising making dough during Bread Week, and looked at white chocolate as though it were made of demons’ tears and dung during Chocolate Week.

Laura looked for any leg up she could get, deciding to follow a recipe from a cookbook by none other than Paul Hollywood. It’s a bold move, but one that could finally set her apart from the pack.

Lottie hoped a toad-in-the-hole pasty would save her from circling the drain once again this week . . . but her success was far from guaranteed:

Prue woke up on the wrong side of the oven this week, telling Lottie she had “hope, if not faith” in her idea, before moving on to kill Irish Mark’s buzz with “Star Baker means nothing now . . .”

I wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alley. I can’t imagine why such a thing would be on the cards anyway.

While the bakers almost all plumped for shortcrust or rough puff pastry, Hermine was buoyed by her experimental success last week and chose to go hybrid. Irish Mark and Linda opt for an Indian theme, while Indiana Marc and Peter The Cake Listener opt for a fishy flavour.

Is this the week where that kind of original flair will pay off?

Not quite. Laura’s traditional pasties (a la Hollywood), topped the list, although inexplicably didn’t win a handshake from the man himself. Linda’s samosa pasties were basically samosas, and didn’t follow the brief . . . while the rest came out largely a little dry, but with plenty of flavour.

A little like this blog.

The technical challenge: eclairs

Technical challenge time. That means time once again for the bakers’ to display their incredulity at being left to bake things without any assistance.

“Bake the choux?” They might have said. “Why would anyone ever expect me to do such a thing? Here, on a baking show?”

To be fair, it immediately started causing poor Linda problems. Her relentlessly sunny disposition, honed over years of dishing out doings to East End gangsters in Albert Square, could not be defeated. Even at the prospect of a third(!) attempt at perfecting her pastry.

Irish Mark and This Year’s Dave, meanwhile, faced different struggles: getting their raspberry/salted caramel fillings to actually stay in.

Or to get in at all.

There were serious size issues in the tent this week, but the pack largely emerged from the technical unscathed.

Apart from Indiana Marc, who takes a savage brow-beating from Paul.

And Linda. Poor Linda. Three goes at the choux left her with little time to do much else but duck and cover.

Peter The Baby-faced Assassin won his first ever technical. A definite early favourite for the crown here.

The showstopper: caged tart

The bakers are tasked with making a tart.

In a cage.

Ok, here it is. It’s impossible for me to pour any more scorn on this nonsense than I already have, but I feel I must give it another go. For the good of cake fans everywhere.

  • Why would you put a tart in a cage? (oo-er)
  • Who orders a tart in a cage and then doesn’t bother to eat any of it?
  • Why would you make a cage for your tart, with the express intention of having no-one eat it?
  • Why were the bakers been asked to make a cage in the first place? This is the Great British Bake Off, not season three of “You”.

Phew. Glad to get that off my chest.

Hermine is much more concise:

“It’s bonkers, really,” she said.


Lottie, emerging as my new favourite, went to the dictionary in order to fend off Paul’s tart-based scepticism (she didn’t plan for her effort to have sides. Mr Collins didn’t care).

This Year’s Dave caged his tart with worrying precision.

Irish Mark’s cage, however, shattered under the weight of expectation . . .

And Linda’s . . .

Well, Laura and Peter knocked it out of the park with their showstoppers — or they would have done, if there weren’t a cage in the way.

Laura duly picked up Star Baker.

But it was time at the bar for Barbara Winner.

She didn’t get up to scratch in any of the challenges this week, and her smiley face will be much missed.

The bakes

  • Cornish pasties. Our resident Southerner, Features Ed Alex, will be outraged to know we haven’t covered any pasty recipes yet.
  • Eclairs. We’ve had no eclairs on the site yet either, but watch this space!
  • Caged tart. Apologies, folks — “The People’s Friend” strongly advocates for freeing all food. Cakes especially. So you won’t find any caged tarts in our recipe pages. But if it’s a tart that takes your fancy, you could try this Tomato, Mozzarella And Basil Puff Pastry Tart.

Click here for more delicious recipes from “The People’s Friend”.

For more on the Great British Bake Off, click the tag below.

Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.